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Women and Trade Networks in West Africa

image of Women and Trade Networks in West Africa

Women make a significant contribution to West Africa's food economy, perpetuating a long tradition of commerce and participating in cross-border trade and regional outreach. Their activities face numerous obstacles but also present important opportunities, highlighted in this report through an unprecedented relational and spatial analysis of social networks. The study focuses on the rice sector in the Dendi region (Benin, Niger and Nigeria) and on the regional governance networks that support women's entrepreneurship. It confirms that Nigeria occupies a privileged position due to its demographics and growing urbanisation. The report proposes the development of innovative public policies based on the reinforcement of the social capital of women and policy approaches that promote better integration of the initiatives undertaken by governments, international and non-governmental organisations to empower women and strengthen their resilience.

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Executive summary

Women make a very important contribution to the food economy of West Africa. From Dakar to N’Djamena, they participate actively in the production, processing and sale of agricultural products. West African women also continue a long tradition of trading, which supports the process of regional integration. Yet these activities that are vital to the growth of the West African economy, face many obstacles that limit the participation of women in trade.

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